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THE TOP 10 VAMPIRE MINIONS   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

Where would vampires be without the loyal henchmen who guard their coffins during daylight, dispose of blood-drained corpses and convince investigators that nothing out of the ordinary is going on? Sometimes described as “familiars,” these invaluable helpers rarely get the credit they deserve. But now it’s time to give them a moment in the spotlight.

Here are my picks for the top ten vampire minions of film and TV:

RENFIELD

Bowing, scraping and gibbering “Yes, Master,” Renfield is the archetypal vampire familiar. In the novel Dracula, Renfield is an inmate at the lunatic asylum. He suffers from delusions that compel him to eat insects, spiders and other vermin in the hope of obtaining their lifeforce. Taking advantage of Renfield’s fixation and his own power to control animals, Dracula establishes a psychic link with the madman, and convinces Renfield that if the poor wretch worships him, the vampire will make him immortal by providing an endless supply of bugs and rats. The obsequious Renfield, played by Dwight Frye with wild-eyed glee in the 1931 Bela Lugosi film, escapes the asylum to carry out Dracula’s bidding.

DR. SANDRA MORNAY

Dr. Sandra Mornay (Lenore Aubert) is a scientist who assists Dracula in his sinister scheme to revive the Frankenstein Monster, in the horror-comedy classic Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Sandra, wanted by the authorities for sinister experiments in Europe, is an enthusiastic cohort. She secures a castle in America to carry out the project, hires a young scientist to assist them and arranges for Dracula and his coffin to be delivered from Transylvania in a crate. When the evil pair agree that a more compliant brain is needed for the monster, Sandra uses her charm to seduce simple-minded Wilber (Costello) to serve as the donor.

RICHARD STRAKER

Oozing class, gentlemanly Englishman Richard Straker is the mortal watchdog and aide to the powerful vampire Kurt Barlow in ‘Salem’s Lot.  In the 1979 TV movie, James Mason plays Straker, who poses as an antique dealer and partner of Barlow, setting up shop in a creepy old mansion.  Straker plays a critical role in Barlow’s plot to spread the vampire contagion to everyone in the Maine town. He ships the ancient vampire and his coffin from overseas, and handles all the business operations, covering for the never-seen Barlow by explaining to visitors that he is frequently away on business. Straker kidnaps a local boy and sacrifices him for his master’s benefit. Later, he holds young hero Mark Petrie bound in the basement as a snack for the butt-ugly, bat-toothed vamp. Straker displays abnormal strength, easily lifting the town doctor off the floor and impaling him on animal horns. Straker also possesses certain supernatural abilities, at one point summoning a powerful wind. Although he can be killed with bullets, it takes a surprising number of shots to put him down.

BILLY COLE

Billy Cole is just an ordinary American dude, the kind of affable guy you’d talk sports with over a beer. At least that’s how he appears. In reality, Billy (Jonathan Stark) is the trusted companion of vampire Jerry Dandridge in Fright Night (1985). Billy helps Jerry (Chris Sarandon) transport his coffin to a new town and dispose of the remains of his female victims. With his easygoing manner and friendly grin, Billy convinces police that teenage neighbor Charlie, who accuses Jerry of being a vampire, is just an over-imaginative kid. We’re never quite sure what Billy is. He’s clearly not a vampire himself, since he can walk around in daylight. Yet he exhibits superhuman strength and when shot in the chest at point-blank range, he is unharmed. When reluctant vampire slayer Peter Vincent drives a wooden stake through Billy’s heart, the henchman melts into green goo and sand, then his skeleton shatters into pieces. Best guess: Billy was a ghoul created by Jerry.

JULIUS JONES

 In A Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), directed by master of the macabre John Carpenter, Eddie Murphy plays it straight as the vampire Maximillian. Most of the comedy relief comes from his minion Julius Jones, played by Kadeem Hardison, best known from TV’s A Different World. After saving Julius from gangsters, Maximillian infects him with vampiric blood, turning him into a ghoul who decays throughout the remainder of the film. Julius aids his new boss in his mission to track down the dhampir daughter of a vampire from his native Caribbean Island.

THOMAS

In the movie Let Me In (2010), Thomas is a glum, middle-aged man who cares for Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz), a girl vampire who has appeared the age of 12 for decades. Thomas (Richard Jenkins) serves every need of his bloodsucking charge, posing as her father, renting an apartment for them and sealing the windows from sunlight. Most importantly, he keeps the little vamp supplied with blood, abducting victims, slitting their throats and draining their blood into jugs that he brings home like cartons of milk. Thomas goes about these tasks joylessly and wearily—and in the course of the film, we realize he’s been helping Abby survive since he was a little boy.

OWEN

Owen is a frail and lonely 12-year-old boy who is terrorized by bullies at school and neglected by his mom. The main character of Let Me In, he is cinema’s most sympathetic familiar. When Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) encounters pretty pre-teen Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) barefoot in the snow in the courtyard of his apartment complex, he is drawn to the odd, melancholy girl. They begin communicating by knocks on their apartment walls, and eventually she agrees to be his girlfriend. After her protector Thomas dies, Abby is forced to hunt for herself, racking up a number of victims before revealing her chilling secret to Owen. With the body count mounting, the pair flee town on a train with Owen concealing Abby in a large trunk. On one level, Let Me In is about a sweet romance between two young misfits. On another level, it is the story of a parasitic monster who recruits a new protector after using up the last one.

IGOR

Igor is Dracula’s hunchbacked henchman in the action-packed film Van Helsing (2004). Igor, as every horror fan knows, was initially an assistant of Dr. Frankenstein. The iconic character first appeared in the 1939 Universal picture Son of Frankenstein, played by Bela Lugosi. In Van Helsing, Igor (Kevin J. O’Connor) flees the mad scientist’s castle after it is attacked by torch-bearing villagers furious at the ravages of the Monster, and he becomes a loyal minion of the vampire big wig. Burly, hideously deformed Igor is the muscle of Dracula’s operation, carrying out dangerous and difficult tasks such as taking care of a werewolf in Dracula’s thrall. 

BEV KEANE

Bev Keane is an obnoxious, holier-than-thou church lady who spews malice while quoting Bible verses. When evil descends on the island of Crockett in the Netflix movie Midnight Mass (2021), she becomes a more insidious figure. Bev (Samantha Sloyan) prevents townsfolk from learning the terrible secret of vampire priest Father Paul Hill, covers up his murders, and leads his flock toward an island-wide vampire apocalypse. What makes Bev such a great character you love to hate is that through it all, she retains her personality as an uptight, judgmental harpy.

GUILLERMO DE LA CRUZ

Guillermo de la Cruz is a vampire-buff-turned-familiar on the Netflix mocumentary series What We Do in the Shadows (2019-pres). Raised a devout Catholic, Guillermo (Harvey Gullen) became fascinated with vampires after seeing sexy Spaniard Antonio Banderas portray Armand in Interview with the Vampire. This was Guillermo’s first time seeing a Latin vampire on screen and he was so captivated that he went on to cosplay as Armand. After working at Panera Bread for several years, the tubby vamp fan became the vampire Nador’s familiar at his Staten Island home, hoping to one day be turned into a bloodsucker as a reward for his service. 

HONORABLE MENTION:

HOYT FORTENBERRY

Hulking, good-natured Hoyt Fortenberry is the boyfriend of vampire Jessica Hamby on the HBO series True Blood (2008-2014), so he is not technically a familiar. But his behavior gets so pathetically clingy that he seems like a devoted minion. Hoyt (Jim Parrack) works on a Department of Transportation road crew in Bon Temps, Louisiana. The shy mama’s boy is dominated by his religious mother and remains a virgin until falling head over heels for Jessica. She, too, led a sheltered life before her recent conversion, so the two are kindred spirits. Hoyt gives Jessica shelter, protects her from harm, and overlooks her occasional hunting of humans, becoming a loyal “fang-banger,” as such companions are sneeringly called. However, as Jessica spreads her wings as a vamp and outgrows him, Hoyt becomes increasingly possessive and just can’t let go. The only way for him to unlatch is for Jessica to “glamor” him so that he loses all memory of her.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. Volume One is available on Amazon, and a Kickstarter is underway for Volume 2.

.

 

Posted June 20, 2022 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

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THE 15 GREATEST VAMPIRE HUNTERS   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

Today, we hail vampire hunters. Without these intrepid heroes, the world would be overrun by blood-slurping creatures of the night. Armed with crossbows, stakes, crucifixes and holy water, they fearlessly go toe-to-toe with one of the most formidable of all supernatural beings.

Below are the 15 top vampire slayers of film and TV:

BLADE

Blade is the ultimate vampire-stomping badass. Portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the 1998 film Blade and two sequels, the African American superhero uses martial arts, a titanium sword, a modified MAC-11 gun and a variety of gadgets cooked up by his mentor Whistler, to wage war on the undead. Blade, whose mom was infected by a vampire while pregnant, is a dhampir, possessing the speed and strength of vamps, with none of their vulnerabilities. Driven by hatred of the creatures who stole his mom from him, Blade (real name: Eric Brooks) first appeared in the Marvel comic The Tomb of Dracula in 1973.

BUFFY SUMMERS

To the casual observer, Buffy is an airheaded blond cheerleader type. But in reality, she is the Chosen One in a long line of vampire slayers. In each generation, a girl arises to battle the forces of darkness, endowed with exceptional physical prowess and fighting abilities. Buffy’s gifts are enhanced by her Watcher, the stuffy Englishman Giles who takes a job as the school librarian at Sunnydale High School to train her. Assisted by her teenage pals, who nickname themselves the Scooby Gang, Buffy deftly dispatches vampires, demons and other supernatural menaces. The character was played by Kristy Swanson in the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the TV series (1997-2003).

ABRAHAM VAN HELSING

Professor Abraham Van Helsing is the godfather of vampire hunters, first appearing in Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula, and later in innumerable films. The aged Dutch doctor is described in the book as  “a philosopher and metaphysician and one of the most advanced scientists of his day,” and in his letters, his signature is followed by a string of credentials, including MD, D.Ph and D.Litt. His wisdom and knowledge of the occult are crucial to the band of heroes, including Jonathan and Mina Harker, who ultimately destroy Dracula. Elderly, thick-accented actor Edward Van Sloan established the character memorably in the 1931 Bela Lugosi movie. But it was British actor Peter Cushing who delivered the most iconic incarnation of Dracula’s chief adversary. His Van Helsing is physically robust and resourceful. His most badass move was putting two candlesticks together to create a makeshift cross that he uses to take down the king of vampires in The Horror of Dracula (1958). Several of the professor’s descendants carry on the ceaseless fight against the undead, including Lorrimer Van Helsing, played by Cushing in Dracula A.D . 1972.

CAPTAIN KRONOS

The swashbuckling hero of the Hammer movie Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1973) is a dashing swordsman and former army officer. Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) travels Europe destroying vampires with the aid of his partner, the hunchbacked Professor Hieronymus Grost  (John Cater), who is the brains of the operation. Their task is tricky because it turns out that, as Grost explains, “There are as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey,” each variety with its own powers and vulnerabilities. The creature who plagues a Romanian village in this film cannot be killed by a wooden stake, and drains victims of their youth rather than blood. Kronos and his companion must figure out which member of the community is the vampire, as well as discover how to liquidate it. They are joined in the hunt by a beautiful Romani (formerly known as Gypsy) woman Carla (Caroline Munro), who had been put in the stocks for dancing on Sunday. I would have loved to see a film series in which the duo exterminate a different breed of vampire in each picture, but alas, this was the character’s only screen appearance.

J

JACK CROW

Jack Crow is the surly hero of John Carpenter’s 1998 film Vampires, played by wiry James Woods, whose pockmarked mug and sour screen persona usually land him villain roles. Crow leads a team of vampire hunters whose brutal techniques include using a grappling hook, cable and truck to haul snoozing bloodsuckers from their lairs out into the sunlight.  Although his unit serves under the auspices of the Catholic Church, Crow is foul-mouthed, cynical, and not above beating the stuffings out of an uncooperative priest. In the film, Jack pursues a master vampire who is seeking a relic that will allow him to become invulnerable to sunlight.  One of Jack’s most valuable team members is played by the least-known Baldwin brother Daniel, who, despite his obscurity is great in the flick!

SAM AND DEAN WINCHESTER

Hunky brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the heroes of the TV show Supernatural, follow in their dad’s footsteps in hunting down and destroying things that go bump in the night, from demons to killer clowns. So, naturally, vampires are among their quarry. Atypically, in the Supernatural universe, wooden stakes don’t harm vampires. Blood-drinkers have to be beheaded, and the beer-swilling bros are happy to oblige. Not only do the pair wipe out multiple vampire nests, they manage to kill the Alpha Vampire, the original bloodsucker who got the evil plague rolling and is the most powerful of them all. They are even able to restore Dean to normal after he’s bitten and sprouts fangs. That said, they do have a soft spot for fangers who restrict their diet to donated blood bags and animals. And a vampire named Benny becomes Dean’s best friend after helping him survive a stint in Purgatory.  

GABRIEL VAN HELSING

Gabriel, hero of the 2004 movie Van Helsing, is best viewed as an entirely different character from Professor Abraham Van Helsing of Dracula fame. (Although he is described as a “re-imagined” version of the original in studio publicity materials). Certainly, his persona is a far cry from the cerebral Dutch doctor. This Van Helsing is a man of action played with steely Clint Eastwood machismo by Hugh Jackson. His backstory is considerably different from Abraham’s. Gabriel remembers nothing before he was found crawling up the steps of a church—and the screenplay hints that he is actually the angel Gabriel in human form! He yearns to earn a pardon for whatever forgotten sins he may have committed and thus regain his memory. To do so, he combats evil on behalf of the secret, Vatican-based Holy Order, which has protected mankind “from time immemorial.” Gabriel employs a variety of steampunk weapons to battle monsters who include Mr. Hyde, werewolves, harpy vampires and most importantly Dracula—who has hatched an evil plot to spawn hundreds of offspring growing in pods similar to those in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

CARL KOLCHAK

Veteran wire service reporter Carl Kolchak has a nose for a good story. Unfortunately, many of his scoops never see the light of day, because they are about supernatural creatures! Each week, on the TV series The Night Stalker (1974-75), Kolchak turns up evidence that a mysterious death is the work of a monster; he doggedly investigates the case and finds a way to destroy the big bad—usually surviving only by the skin of his teeth. Unfortunately, the proof is almost always destroyed as well, making his claims implausible, especially to his grumpy boss Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) who refuses to print the articles. In his first outing, in the 1972 TV movie The Night Stalker, Kolchak discovers that a serial killer hunted by the police is actually a vampire and is forced to take matters into his own hands.

 Although the show ran only one season, it is a cult favorite that inspired several subsequent monster-of-the-week series, including The X Files. One of the reasons for its popularity is undoubtedly the believable depiction of a crafty reporter, played with irascible charm by Darren McGavin. It’s never really explained why Kolchak just happens to keep stumbling across monsters. My pet theory is that he was chosen by some higher power to be a white knight.

VANESSA VAN HELSING

Vanessa, herorine of the SyFy series Van Helsing (2016-2021), is a descendent of the legendary vampire-slayer Abraham Van Helsing. However, Vanessa (Kelly Overton) was adopted and has no knowledge of her impressive pedigree.  The young woman wakes from a mysterious, coma-like state, and quickly learns that during her three years out of commission, vampires have taken over the world. Luckily for humanity, Vanessa has extraordinary fighting skills that make her the perfect vamp-busting machine–and better than that, her bite turns vampires back into normal humans. Also, in what is more of a mixed blessing, when she consumes blood herself, she becomes even stronger and faster.  Unlike her brainy forebear, Vanessa relies on instinct more than strategy. And another drawback of her unusual condition is that when she feels threatened, she flies into an animalistic rage, killing without mercy. The show was inspired by Zenoscope Entertainment’s graphic novel series.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Honest Abe was more than our greatest president—he was also a prolific vampire slayer who used his wood-chopping skills and trusty ax to vanquish scores of the undead.  That’s the fanciful conceit of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. In this weird alternate version of history, at the tender age of 11, Abraham watches helplessly as a vampire attacks his mother, causing her death. The lanky country boy vows revenge and sets out to rub out every bloodsucker he can lay his hands on. He is aided in this quest by a mysterious mentor who teaches him vampire-slaying essentials—and even provides him with the names and whereabouts of people who are secretly vampires. Lincoln soon learns that vampires, whose stronghold is the South, are using slaves as a food source. He runs for President not only to save the Union but to end slavery, and to drive vampires from America’s shores.

DR. ROBERT NEVILLE AKA NEVILLE MORGAN

The chilling movie The Last Man on Earth (1964) was the first to depict a vampire apocalypse. Dr. Robert Morgan is the sole survivor in a world where everyone else has been infected by a mysterious plague. The disease has turned them undead, vampiric creatures that can’t stand sunlight, fear mirrors and are repelled by garlic. At night, Robert (Vincent Price) remains barricaded in his home. Each day, he embarks on a monotonous and grim routine, gathering his weapons and going on the prowl for dormant blood-drinkers. Those he finds, he dispatches with a stake, then burns their corpses to prevent them from coming back. The movie is based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, in which the character’s last name is Neville, as in the 1971 version The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and I am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith.

RAYNA CRUZ

The TV series The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017) featured plenty of vampire hunters. But Rayna Cruz (Leslie-Anne Panaligan) is without question the most powerful and relentless. Rayna has been a vampire slayer since the 19th century, when a group of Native American shaman cast a spell giving her enhanced abilities. She has incredible strength and speed, slowed-down aging, and most nifty of all, multiple lives, enabling her to bounce back from the dead. Rayna is armed with the mystical Phoenix Sword, given to her by her father and enchanted by the Shaman, that gives her the power to track down any vamp whom she’s stabbed. What’s more, the hilt contains the Phoenix stone, into which she can entrap a vampire’s soul and where they endure a personal hell.

THE ULTRAVIOLET TEAM

In the 1998 British mini-series Ultraviolet, a top-secret paramilitary organization known as the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith hunts down and slaughters vampires, with the joint support of both the British government and the Vatican. Global warming is once again the culprit, having spurred vampires to come out of the shadows to seize control of the planet. Led by a priest, the outfit uses brutal tactics to exterminate vampires, while investigating their plots against humankind. The team includes Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport), while Idris Elba costars as Vaughn Rice.

PETER VINCENT

Peter Vincent is a fearless vampire killer—or at least that was his role in the cheesy old movies shown late at night on a TV show named Fright Night, hosted by the retired actor. The real Peter, played by Roddy McDowell in the 1985 movie of the same name, is actually a rather timid, prissy fellow. When high school teen Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale), a fan of the show, discovers that his next-door neighbor is a vampire, he takes the (totally illogical) step of seeking the assistance of his idol. Roddy gives the best performance of his life as the reluctant hero. In the 2011 remake, David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, this time a Las Vegas magician who incorporates vampire themes into his act and is known for his expertise on the subject. (This change makes it a lot less ridiculous for Charlie to turn to him for help). The name is, obviously, a tip of the hat to horror legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

 It’s a sure bet that I will soon be adding another name to this list. Jamie Foxx is starring as a hardboiled vampire hunter, along with Snoop Dog, in the upcoming Netflix movie Day Shift, set to air in August, 2022.  Director J.J. Perry and producer Chad Stahelski both worked on the John Wick films, and they promise to bring the thrills of that action-packed, blood-splattering franchise to the world of vampires. The “first look” released by Netflix is awesome, packed with loads of eye-popping stunts and practical effects.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. Volume One is available on Amazon, and a Kickstarter is underway for Volume 2.

.

The 15 Best Horror Movie Sieges   Leave a comment

Scene from Return of the Living Dead.

By C. Michael Forsyth

When well executed, the siege is one of the most compelling film scenarios. With a group of disparate individuals barricaded in a confined space or otherwise trapped, surrounded by an implacable foe, the situation is ripe for suspense, interpersonal conflict and drama. The scenario is especially effective in the horror genre, where the sense of dread is heightened by the abnormal nature of the menace, even when off camera.

Here are my favorite horror movie siege scenarios: 

DEMON KNIGHT (1995) — Billy Zane, a marvelously creepy villain in Dead Calm, delivers another chilling performance as a powerful demon in human form known as The Collector. The Collector is on the hunt for drifter Frank Brayker (William Sadler) the guardian of a key that contains the blood of Jesus Christ and that can unlock enormous powers. Brakyer takes refuge in a decommissioned church that has been converted into a boarding house. The Collector is unable to enter the holy building, but summons a horde of demons to surround it and uses his cunning and supernatural powers to influence its residents. Brayker and the occupants, including the fearless owner, a prostitute, a secretive postal clerk and a convict on work release (Jada Pinkett) must hold off the Collector and his minions, while keeping the precious artifact out of his evil clutches.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) — Needless to say, this is the grandpappy of all zombie apocalypse flicks. Traumatized by the murder of her brother at the hands of a zombie, Barbra (Judith O’Dea) takes shelter in an isolated farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. While she remains virtually catatonic for the remainder of the movie, she is protected by the resourceful Ben (Duane Jones), who drives off the undead with a rifle and sets about boarding up the home. They are soon joined by a middle-aged couple who’d been hiding in cellar, along with their young zombie-bitten daughter, and later a young couple. As the cannibalistic ghouls besiege the farmhouse in ever-increasing numbers, conflict mounts between Ben and the dad Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman).  Beyond its seminal place in the zombie subgenre, the movie is noteworthy for its eerie black and white cinematography, inspired by the surreal 1962 cult classic Carnival of Souls.  A take-charge African American protagonist was unusual at the time—and the devastating shock ending is unforgettable.

THE BLOB (1958) stars Steve McQueen in his first leading role as the young hero, also named Steve. When a meteorite crashes to Earth, it turns out to contain a small, gelatinous, amoeba-like alien that envelops and consumes its prey. A nearby Pennsylvania town falls victim to the amorphous mass as it gobbles up everything its path, including vagrants, doctors and unlucky theater goers and others, steadily becoming larger and larger. Steve, his girlfriend and her kid brother wind up trapped in a diner along with the owner and a waitress, as the now building-size creature engulfs the greasy-spoon joint. Because of the believable concept of an alien life form and its terrifying method of attack, the Blob remains one of the greatest monsters cinema history, despite what now seem primitive special effects.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) — It’s a dead heat between George Romero’s 1978 masterpiece and this remake helmed by Zack Snyder in his directorial debut.  The reboot lacks the sociopolitical subtext of the original, which took a swipe at consumerism. Still, I rank it slightly higher thanks to the superior effects and the stellar cast, led by Ving Rhames as police sergeant Kenneth Hall. Set in Milwaukee, Dawn of the Dead follows a group of survivors who take refuge in an upscale suburban shopping mall when the zombie apocalypse erupts. Delving deeper than the fight for survival, the film focuses on conflict between the characters, as The Walking Dead later would. One of the most gripping storylines: the group has to figure out what to do about a pregnant woman who’s been bitten—and may give birth to a zombie baby!

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) — One of the best horror-comedies of all time, this zombie siege is set in a medical supply warehouse.  Two dimwitted employees accidentally unseal a military drum, releasing a toxic gas called Trioxin that resurrects the dead and unleashes a horde of shambling, brain-munching zombies. The intrepid owner Burt (Clu Gulager), his hapless workers, his mortician buddy and a band of teenage punks become trapped inside. The wickedly funny flick introduced the trope of zombies craving brains as their preferred a delicacy.  Among the highlights is Linnea Quigley as Trash, a morbid exhibitionist who tempts fate by dancing naked in a cemetery and describing her fantasies about being ravished by ghouls. It’s not before her wish is granted, and she returns as the world’s sexiest nude zombie.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) The first half hour or so of the movie seems like an ordinary thriller as two fugitive bank robbers, the Gecko brothers, flee toward Mexico. Seth (George Clooney) is an unflappable professional, while Richie (Quentin Tarantino) is a perverted psycho who clearly climbed out of the shallow end of the gene pool.  The hoodlums kidnap a family with an RV in order to smuggle themselves over the border. The driver Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) is a recently widowed pastor experiencing a crisis of faith, traveling with his teenage children. In Mexico, they arrive at the Titty Twister, a strip club where the Gecko brothers are supposed to meet their cohort Carlos at dawn. The place appears to be a raunchy paradise, especially when Salma Hayek at her bodacious prime performs a tantalizing striptease. Unfortunately, the topless bar turns out to be a vampire nest, and Seth and the hostages soon find themselves barricaded inside while a host of bat-like bloodsuckers lay siege. Two other patrons survive the initial battle: a two-fisted tough guy played by Black exploitation era icon Fred Williamson and a biker named Sex Machine played by special effects wizard Tom Savini in a rare appearance in front of the camera.

DOG SOLDIERS (2002)—A squad of six British soldiers are dropped off by chopper in a forest in the Scottish Highlands for a routine training exercise. Attacked by a pack of towering, ferocious werewolves, they manage to make it to a cottage, which is quickly surrounded by what turns out to be a family of lycanthropes. The grunts are armed with automatic weapons, but since the bullets are not made of silver, they merely slow the wolfmen down. The plucky soldiers desperately fend off the creatures, hoping that if they can make it to sunrise, the shapeshifters will revert to human form.  The Brits display stiff upper lips and Cockney courage–especially one lad who has the gumption to box a wolfman who busts into the house. Kevin McKidd stars as the heroic Pvt. Lawrence Cooper along with Sean Pertwee as Sgt. Wells—the squad leader who shows true grit even after being disemboweled and bitten.

THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) – Although widely dismissed as laughable schlock, that’s primarily to the low-budget “special effects.” The plot was actually pretty neat.  Employing more logic than the typical mad scientist, a genius doc performs genetic research using shrews because of their short life spans, which allows him to track the progress of his DNA tinkering over multiple generations. Putting safety first, he conducts his experiments on a remote island. Nevertheless, the best laid plans of shrews and men goes astray when the critters evolve to the size of collies—and since shrews eat three times their body weight each day, they are incredibly voracious. Ship Captain Thorne Sherman (James Best) and his party become trapped in the scientist’s compound, surrounded by the flesh-hungry giant rodents. (Which, thanks to that low budget, WERE portrayed by dogs wearing shrew masks!)

 TREMORS (1990) – Rugged handymen Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred  Ward) find themselves pitted against giant, prehistoric, worm-like monsters that live around  a small desert town of Perfection, Nevada. Joined by a pretty seismologist who has detected odd underground activity, and with the help of a gun-crazy survivalist couple, they try to protect the townsfolk from the carnivorous creatures they dub Graboids. To avoid the monsters, which are drawn to vibrations, the survivors are forced onto the roof of the general store and other high spots.  That siege is followed by an even more precarious situation when the group is stranded on boulders. The movie boasts one of my favorite lines, when Ward says, “Running isn’t a plan. Running is what you do what a plan fails!” Michael Gross, previously best known as the mild-mannered, liberal dad on TV’s Family Ties, gleefully shows another side as Burt Gummer, the gun-toting conspiracy theorist and prepper.

THE MIST (2007) is a based a novella by Stephen King, and not unexpectedly is set in Maine. After a severe thunderstorm causes the power to go out, several residents of a small town visit a supermarket to pick up supplies. An unnatural mist envelops the area—from which colossal, spider-like, Lovecraftian monsters emerge.  Tensions quickly rise among the shoppers as they fight to stay alive. Thomas Jane stars as David Drayton, a painter trapped in the store with wife, 8-year-old son and townsfolk, including a religious fanatic who believes the mist to be the wrath of God.

THE CRAWLING EYE AKA THE TROLLENBERG TERROR (1958) — Forrest Tucker, best known as conniving Sgt. O’Rourke on TV’s F Troop, stars as U.N. troubleshooter Alan Brooks, who is dispatched to investigate mysterious fatal accidents that have occurred near a resort hotel on the fictional Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland. The source of the deaths is a weird, radioactive cloud that locals believe is inhabited. It sure is–by a giant, tentacled beast with a single huge eye! Brooks, a mind-reading beauty (Janet Munro) and other hotel guests manage to make it to a well-fortified observatory. There, using Molotov cocktails, axes and other means, they struggle to survive until help arrives.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) — In this comedy-horror classic, Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, a downtrodden London electronics  salesman who becomes an unlikely hero in  the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Rising to the occasion and armed with a cricket bat, Shaun leads a band of survivors including pudgy pal Ed (Nick Frost), his mom, and grumpy stepfather (Bill Nighy). Shaun and his party make their way to the Winchester, a local pub where they make a last stand against the walking dead. Bit of a sticky wicket, you might say.

YOU’RE NEXT (2011) — In this slasher flick, estranged relatives at a family reunion are besieged by a group of bizarrely  masked homicidal maniacs.  Aubrey and Paul Davison (Barbara Crampton and Rob Moran) invite their adult children and their partners to their vacation home, hoping bury a few hatchets. Sharp instruments do indeed enter the picture as the nuts armed with crossbows and machetes encircle the isolated home, forcing the dysfunctional family to fight for their lives.

THE EVIL DEAD (1981)Directed by Sam Raimi in his trademark unhinged, over-the-top style, the story begins when five Michigan State college students vacation at an old cabin in a remote wooded area. Venturing into the basement, the youths stumble across The Naturom Demonto,  an ancient Sumerian book similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional Necronomicon, along with a tape recorder into which a researcher has read passages. Foolishly, they play the tape and the incantation summons a legion of demons. The group battles to keep the malignant entities out, a task that becomes more challenging as members are possessed one by one. The square-jawed hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) faces an onslaught of increasingly gory mayhem as he fights to hold onto his sanity and soul. I prefer the better plotted and acted sequel/remake Evil Dead 2 (1987). But nothing in it matches the unnerving elements of the original–most shockingly, a scene where Ash’s girlfriend is raped by demonically possessed trees.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986) is also based on a Stephen King story, Trucks. After the Earth crosses the tail of a comet, all machines including cars, trucks and even vending machines, suddenly become sentient and embark on a world-wide killing spree. Homicidal trucks are the chief adversary of a group of people stranded at the Dixie Boy Truck Stop outside Wilmington, North Carolina. The film stars Emilio Estevez as Bill Robinson, Pat Hingle as Bubba Hendershot as well as Yeardly Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson). The film is King’s first and only directorial effort and boasts a hard rock soundtrack by the author’s favorite band AC/DC.  I don’t recall the movie being all that bad, but it garnered nominations for two Golden Raspberry Awards, Worst Director and worst actor for Estevez. King himself takes a dim view of the film in retrospect, admitting that is a “moron movie,” and vowing never to direct again.

HONERABLE MENTION:

ASSAULT ON PRECINT 13 (1976)  — Although it is an action thriller, not a horror movie, this film directed, scored, and edited by John Carpenter of Halloween fame has the feel of a fright flick. A small group of police officers must defend a defunct precinct against a relentless street gang bent avenging the deaths of six of its members. Set in South Central L.A., the movie stars Austin Stoker and Laurie Zimmer as the cops. Darwin Joston plays Napoleon Wilson, a jailed murderer en route to Death Row, who redeems himself by helping the officers survive the night.

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I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. Volume One is available on Amazon, and a Kickstarter is underway for Volume 2.

Posted June 5, 2022 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

50 Best Alternative Horror Movie Posters   Leave a comment

Dozens of creative designers from around the world have taken a crack at creating alternative versions of movie posters for iconic films. Some choose to reinvent the poster in an entirely different style; some take a modern film and redo the poster in retro style. Some reimagine the film with a different cast altogether. We’ve collected the most ingenious alternative posters in the horror genre we could find. Feast your eyes and be sure to comment on your favorites below.

By James White
By Jonathan Burton
By Tony Coppin
By Monica Mizan
By Timothy Anderson
By Mike Saputo
By HC Art
By Blain Hefner
By Mark Welser
By Tyler Stout
By George Sokol
by Daniel Norris
By Ken Taylor
By Christopher Cox

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Take a break from scrolling for a moment. If you’re enjoying this article, please remember to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

Vampires take over a women’s prison in the spooky, steamy graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2
by Ken Taylor
by Ken Taylor
By Olly Moss
By Olly Moss
by Daniel Norris
By Laurent Durieux
By Jessica Deahl
By Chris Thornley
From Behance.net
By Mondo TEES
By Peter Stults
By Benedict Woodhead
by Geek Tyrant
Peter Strain
by Chris Weston and Jeff Boyes
WONDERBROS
WONDERBROS
By Oscar Delgado
Jerod Gibson
By Pikazilla
Asian version film poster
By Mark Wrobel
By Daniel J Permutt
By Matthew Florey Rowa
By Corina Lupo
By Sean Hartter
By Paul Stults
From Useltop
By Peter Wessler
By Brandon Moore
By Mikiedege

Take a break from scrolling for a second. I’m going to take this opportunity to plug my latest project…

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I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please take a moment to check out my latest project…

THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

“Night Cage” Cosplay Contest is Open!   Leave a comment

Could you look hotter than this sporting prison garb and fangs?

Can you imagine being trapped in a women’s prison where you’ve been turned into a vampire? If you can and dare to dress the part, you could win $100 in the Night Cage Cosplay Contest!

As a publicity stunt for the ongoing Kickstarter for the graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2, we’re launching a competition around the story’s theme: vampires running amok in a women’s prison. So, ladies, suit up in a prison uniform, don your vampire makeup and fangs, and be as scary and sexy as you can. Then post the pic in our Night Cage Cosplay Contest Facebook Group.

Posting the photo constitutes permission for us to use it in our online publicity campaign. In addition, shoot an email to us at cmforsythwriter@gmail.com, confirming that the photo is indeed of you and that we have permission to use the image.

The contest will run through June 25, 2020, when the winner will be picked in an online poll. Models must be over 18 and all images must stay within Facebook nudity guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the email above.

You can get a feel for the story by checking out the Kickstarter video.

Night Cage, Volume 1 is already available

So get busy–and have fun!

Ban Vampire Conversion Therapy, Activists Demand   Leave a comment

RECKLESS? Devampirizing treatment shown in movie Near Dark is risky and unsanitary, critics charge

By C. Michael Forsyth

Activists are condemning a controversial form of conversion therapy that supposedly cures vampires!

Practitioners of the unorthodox technique—which involves total blood replacement via transfusion—claim that it has successfully restored dozens of bloodsuckers to normal. But critics charge that the practice is dangerous and they call the therapists little more than snake oil salesmen.

“These quacks are promoting a so-called cure that is scientifically unsound, ineffective and potentially lethal,” blasts Oliver Shursman, executive director of the American Blood Drinkers Association. 

“Many newly turned vampires are emotionally vulnerable, full of confusion and self-loathing. The last thing they need is some charlatan reinforcing the idea that there’s something ‘wrong’ with them and holding out false hope that they can be fixed.”

The trend is driven by Sanguivoriphobia, the irrational fear of and dislike for vampires, he says. “This is bigotry disguised as medicine.”

The therapy, which has not yet received FDA approval, is being carried out in at least six facilities located in Florida and Georgia. The units receive funding principally from evangelical churches and family values organizations. Four of the facilities operate under the banner Soul Restoration Centers and are owned by Dr. Budd Koarski of Tallahassee, FL, who is widely viewed as the father of the devampirizing movement.

Dr. Koarksi reveals he got the brainstorm eight years ago at a Halloween party after watching the movie Near Dark (1987) in which an old country veterinarian cures his son and the boy’s girlfriend of vampirism through transfusions.

“When I saw that scene, I was surprised because I’d never thought something so simple and obvious could work,” he explains. “It took some digging through obscure old books and articles on vampirism, but sure enough, I found that back in the Depression era, backwoods doctors in Louisiana used the technique to heal vampirism sufferers and return them to their families.”

Dr. Koarski claims that some 28 vampires have been successfully converted at his facilities alone since 2015.   

“These had been predators who were hopelessly stuck in the degrading vampire lifestyle, living like feral animals in squalid abandoned buildings and hunting at night,” he says. “Now they are healthy, productive members of society who walk around in daylight–and many even attend church regularly,” he says.

 “One man brought to us by family members had been living as a vampire since 1977. When he realized he had been liberated from this evil curse after so many decades, he wept tears of joy and hugged all the staff at the facility.”

OLD SCHOOL: Transfusions were used to combat vampirism outbreaks in the 1930s

However, critics say that the effects of introducing massive quantities of human blood to a vampire intravenously have not been adequately tested. And they point to a notorious 2011 incident in Mobile, Ala., where a vampire spontaneously combusted during a transfusion.

“Dr. Koarski is not a medical doctor or even a vet,” Shursman observes. “As I understand it, he has a Ph.D in music. He and his ilk have no business dispensing medical advice, let alone running medical facilities treating one of the most complex and little-understood conditions in the world.”

The  American Blood Drinkers Association and several other vampire-rights organizations are calling for Florida Governor DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and state lawmakers to pass a bill outlawing the vampire conversion therapy until studies prove the procedure is safe. Until that happens, Dr. Koarski plans to keep curing vampires at his centers and he has plans to soon expand into four additional states.

“Our goal is to cure 100 vampires by the end of this year and 250 the year after that,” he declares.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this supernatural news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new project…

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THRILLING NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

Vampires take over a women’s prison in the spooky, steamy graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2

The Best Female Vampire Images Ever!   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

Fascinated by female vampires? I’ve scoured the Internet to dig up the sexiest, scariest, funniest and weirdest images of lady bloodsuckers. The night gallery below features 230 dazzling paintings, smoking-hot cosplayers, comic book cover art, movie stills and much more. Some of the artwork comes from legendary giants in the fantasy field, others from unknowns toiling in obscurity.

Wherever possible, I have credited the artist. One of my pet peeves is that people routinely post images on Pinterest and social media ostensibly celebrating artists–but without acknowledging them by name. In many cases, I had to use Google’s reverse image search to identify the source.

Please leave comments about which images you find most scintillating, disturbing, beautiful or intriguing. If you have additional information on a picture or would like to correct a gaffe, kindly share. And if you dig a piece, do visit the creator’s DeviantArt page or website to check out other work. If you are the artist or copywriter holder and don’t want the image displayed here, let me know and it will be removed. Plus, of course, feel free to suggest an addition to the gallery in the comment section.

By Emanuele Taglietti

Anticipation by SYOSHIKO on DeviantArt
By Dorian
Variant cover for VAMPIRELLA Vs PURGATORI #2 by Kael Ngu
Mother and Daughter by Mircalla-Tepez on DeviantArt
Anne Hathaway as vampire from photoshop contest hosted by Worth1000.com
By Aly Fell
Vampires take over a women’s prison in this graphic novel. Kickstarter campaign currently underway!
Vampirella cover by Alex Ross
Model Mahafsoun by Lillianliuphotography
Art by Matt Dixon
By Lucio Parrillo for Vampirella #24
Ad for Sexy Bites Custom Vampire Fangs Created by Foothills Creation
Vampires by Jodi Muir
Aurai, an art print by Mark Molchan
Amy (Amanda Bearse) in full vampire mode in “Fright Night,” photo autographed by actress
Frank Frazetta cover for Vampirella
The Kiss By Victoria Frances
The Witcher 3 Gwent Card Art
By Lucio Parrillo
Frans Mensink’s cover for the graphic novel Night Cage about vampires in a women’s prison.

by Bill Pressing
by DemiGirl
Vampirella by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
BRITT NICHOLS as Luisa Karlstein in “Dracula’s Daughter”
by Aaron Sims
By Alex Horley
By Andrew Dobell
By Anna-Marine on DeviantArt
“Van Helsing” cosplayers Bellatrix Aiden as Marishka, Hanna Elladore as Aleera, Alexia Muller  as Verona.
Photo by Alex Botsman  
By Popius on DeviantArt
By mistresspersephone.com· @queenofhades
By Anne Stokes
Vampire Lust by CountDracula on DeviantArt
By Carlos Valenzuela
By Clyde Caldwell
By Frans Mensink
Angelina Jolie envisioned as a vampire in submission to contest held by Worth1000.com
Bathory by DarkSilverStudio
By Felicia Cano
By Didok80 on DeviantArt
By Bruce Timm
By Didok80 on DeviantArt
Arthur stakes Lucy in Greg Hildebrant’s illustration of “Dracula.”
Tyke from movie “30 Days of Night.”
Baobhan-Sith by Christy Leigh Stewart
Autumn Reeser as Nicole in “Lost Boys: the Tribe”
By Joe Jusko
By Reyna Rosa Sangrienta
By Zolaida on DeviantArt
By John Blumen
By John Wigley Wiggers123 on DeviantArt
By Jose Gonzelez Vampirella Door Poster
By Justin B. Long
By Leone Frollo
By Gothic Dark Lady
By IamUman on DeviantArt
By James Ryman
Hunter By M. Matiagi
By Luis Royo
By Jeremie Fleury
By M. Krome, cover art for Werewolves The Hunger
By Matt Dixon
By Lucio Parrillo
Mona Lisa By Mike Mayhew
By Nicholas Bournay
By NikkiFreaky on DeviantArt
By Pygar on DeviantArt
By Sam Briggs
By Boris Vallejo
By StressedJenny on DeviantArt
By Brian Baugh
By Tim Vigil
Angela Bassett in “The Vampire in Brooklyn.”
By Tom Bagshaw
By Ulamosart Ursa Minor #5 Wizard World Philly
By Victoria Frances
Blood Bairn by Ryan Yee for Magic the Gathering Game
By videogame creator Julz
By Enric Torres Prat
By Viona Ielegems
By Viona Ielegems
Queen of Vampires Yayashin on DeviantArt
By Vshen on DeviantArt
Dracula’s Brides by Carlos Valenzuala,
Carmilla by Tim Vigil
Carmilla for Radio Times by Debra McFarlane
Carmilla’s Oath by Claudia-SG on DeviantArt
Character Emily Briggs in Cover Art by Gulliem March for Looker Number 1
Claudia By Pat Mills
Corpse Bride by Gabi Spree
Created for Magic the Gathering Game by Itsfish3
By John Bolton
By MagicOfTheTiger on DeviantArt
By Cristina Martinez Queralt
Dark Queen Guinevere Vampire Queen Fantasy Art for LEGEND OF THE CRYPTIDS
By Dongho Kang
Earth-Vamps by Brian Bolland
Efrem Palacios Art used in Clan Mekhet book
Elvira by Patrick Finch
By Emanuele Taglietti
Erin Wasson in movie “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”
Erinye by Lvcifera on DeviantArt
By Flavio Greco Paglia
Flossing Vampire By Anissa Espinoza
From Forsaken World, a popular free-to-play MMORPG from Perfect World Entertainment
Frank Frazetta’s poster art for the movie” From Dusk Till Dawn”
Freaky Vampire Digital Art by Silvio Schoisswohl
Free wallpaper from The Vampire Chicks
French Poster for “Dracula’s Daughter” (1936)
From graphic novel “30 Days of Night” by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
From Adventure Time Comics #13
From the book “Hunters Hunted II”
From The Moonlight by KatLouchio on DeviantArt
From the movie “Lesbian Vampire Killers”
From the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night by Davide Corsi
From Worth 1000.com website
Geena Davis in “Transylvania 6-5000” (1985)
Goddess of Witches by Jiyeon Ryu
Ange Maya as Aleta in the film “The Empress Vampire”
Harpy-like flying vampires Marishka and Verona from “Van Helsing”
Helen of Destroy By DarkArt on Tumbler
Created by Horrify.me.uk
Created by Instagram @moon_elodia, a Columbian artist
Miriam Giovanelli as Tania in Dario Argente’s “Dracula 3D”
Jaime Murray in “Fright Night 2”
Jannette from TV’s “Forever Knight”
Josie Maran as Marishka in ‘Van Helsing’
Model Josi Paula vamped up
Vampire puts the bite on Kate Kane Aka Batwoman in DC Comic.
Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica in HBO’s “True Blood”
By Koveck, a digital artist and illustrator based in Spain.
By Karla Ortiz
By kalli-schulz on DeviantArt
Kirsten Stewart as Bella in “Twilight.”
KRISTIN BAUER as Pam De Beaufort in “True Blood.”
Lady Death and Vampirella by Fiorasolotop on DeviantArt
Amanda Donohue in “Lair of the White Worm”
From Little Shop of Horrors by Bruce Timm
Lena Olin as Maharet in “Queen of the Damned” (2002)
Lilith, Mother of the Evil by Chtuluh2 on DeviantArt
Scene from “Lesbian Vampire Killers”
Lily by Arantza Sestayo
Lucy (Sadie Frost) claims a victim in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
Love Bite by Daveed Benito
Lucy Pinder and friend in “Strippers Vs. Werewolves.”
By Luis Royo
Ingrid Pitt in “Lust for a Vampire”
Madame Violet the Vampire Queen, a sculpture by Christine Elfman made of plaster and paper mâché
Marceline the Vampire Queen By Kuramachan on DeviantArt
Matisse by 000Fesbra000 on DeviantArt
By Michael Park
By mistresspersephone.com· @queenofhades
Model Courtney Stodden taken by Coleman-Raynor
Model Ashley Glorioso vamped out
Model Dani Divine photographed by Scott Chalmers
Publicity still of Monica Belluci as a Bride in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
Needlework 5D Diy Diamond Painting Skull Vampire Diamond Mosaic Cross Stitch Picture Wall Painting on EtsyUK
Nik Guerra productions Lucifera and Vampirella for FANGSY FOLLY
On T-shirt sold by Magazine Luiza. Believed to be by Brazilian Artist Alexandre Salles
Ophelia Overdose by Miss Overdose
Painting of Yutte Stensgaard from “Lust for a Vampire” by Rick Melton
Parker Posey in “Blade Trinity”
Pearl Jones from American Vampire.
Photo by CalvinHollywood on 500PX
Photo by CalvinHollywood on 500PX
Photo by Rebeca Saray Gude on 500px
photo by vtytiev on Instagram
Poster for “Amityville Vampire” (2021)
Rihanna fanged and nude in GQ
Rhona Mitra as Sonja in “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”
Rose by Mioree
Salma Hakek in “From Dusk TIll Dawn”
Sanjulian’s Cover for Deadwalk by Ron Goulart
by Emanuele Taglietti
Sister Janicha possessed by azzopardi666 on DeviantArt
Slaughterhouse by Klaudia Kotecka on ArtStation.
Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones” cosplaying as vampire
Sukia, Italian comics series by Renzo Barbieri and Fulvio Bosttoli
Supermodel Adriana Lima with Vampire Fangs by TurlyVamp on DeviantArt
Tanya from Gothic Nights by Tim Vigil, colored by Neil Ruffino
Model on Tattoo website
Dracula’s brides including Monica Belluci feed on Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
The comic book heroine Chastity
megan fox as vampire by kittievampire on DeviantArt (Leigh Leeloo Lawson)
The Deadly Departed by AvelinaDeMoray on DeviantArt
The French Lady Clan, Ventrue White Wolf’s Vampire The Requiem RPG WHITE WOLF PUBLISHING
The Howling, Revenge of the Werewolf Queen art by Jason Johnson, Milan Parvanov (Yes. as in the movie, the character is a werewolf, not a vampire, but she sure looks like one at this stage of transformation!)
The lovely ladies of “Van Helsing”
The Turning by Victoria Frances
The Vampire (1897) Phillip Burnes-Jones
European poster for “The Vampire Lovers” (1970)
The Vampire Tarot by Robert M. Place
By The Velvet Cartel
Valak the Demon Nun From The Conjuring universe by Georgina Lucey
Valerie Sharpe in “Dracula 2000”
Vamp Nadine by Serge Birault
Vampirella meets Buffy by Bruce Timm
Vampira Dark Goddess of Horror by Shayne of the Dead
Photo by Chazz Gold
Vampire from “30 Days of Night” By Aaron Sims
Vampire by Choe Heon Hwa
Vampire Fairy Demon by Takato Yamamoto
Vampire Mother by Jeff Jones
Vampire Queen by Christos Karapanos
From Vampire The Masquerade Dark Ages: Knights Of The Black Banner
Vampirella #2 by Stanley Artgerm Lau
Vampirella and Red Sonja (without her chainmail thong) by Lucio Parillo
Vampirella by Alex Ross (in tribute to Frank Frazetta)
Vampirella by Alex Ross
Vampirella by Stjepan Šejić
Amanda Bearse alluring vamp stage in “Fright Night”
By Gerado Justel
By Lucio Parrillo
By Mattia Tegon
By DemiGirl
By Bryan829 D on Drawcrowd
By Drazen Kozjan
Vintage Ad parody (Mad?)
By David Gaillet
Vampirella cover by Luis Parrillo
Vampirella By Lucio Parillo
Victoria Carlson in “Dracula has Risen from the Grave”
Vampirella cover
Vampirella Lust for Life by Bruce Timm
Disney Princess re-envisioned By Travis Falligrant on Break.com
European poster for “The Vampire Lovers.”
Aaliyah as Queen Akasha in “Queen of the Damned”
Veronica of the Archie fame turns vamp in Vampironica comic by Greg and Megan Smallwood
Dracula’s brides from the movie “Van Helsing”
Vampyros Lesbos by Jess Franco
Witch Monka, Devendra Dewan’s piece based on an Alex Horley drawing

HUNGRY FOR EVEN MORE FEMALE VAMPIRES?

CHECK OUT THIS EXCITING GRAPHIC NOVEL!

In the graphic novel Night Cage, vampires slowly take over a women’s prison. Imagine ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. 

Pick a Name for Trump’s Invasion of America!   Leave a comment

Invasion of U.S.

U.S. conquest of America should be a cakewalk, experts believe.

By. C. Michael Forsyth

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump has threatened to send U.S. military troops to crush street protests in cities across America, but he has not yet come up with a catchy name for the invasion. And our Commander in Chief needs YOUR help!

Selecting an upbeat name is key to generating public enthusiasm for a military operation, experts say. Operation Desert Storm,  in which American forces liberated Kuwait from the grip of dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990, boosted the popularity of President George Herbert Walker Bush and ranks high on a list of “The 10 Greatest Military Operation Names” compiled by Military.Com

“A desert storm is created by wind and sand. It’s sudden, ruthless and incredibly disorienting,” the experts note. “Not to take away from the men and women who have fought the War on Terror, but Operation Iraqi Freedom doesn’t have the same unforgettable fury as a Desert Storm.”

Trump!

Tough-as-nails Commander in Chief Donald Trump is prepared to dictate the course of the war from his newly inspected bunker.

 

 

President Ronald Reagan’s invasion of the resort island of Grenada in 1983 might not have been entirely necessary, but the mission’s name Operation Urgent Fury helped to get Americans excited about the quick and easy victory.

“The name was one of the best,” the experts observe. “Operation Urgent Fury sounds like the title of a movie that would pair Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme as grizzled special ops leaders who join forces to put down the Sandinistas once and for all. “

By contrast, a poorly thought-out name often leads to disappointing results. Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, was jinxed from the start, with an uninspiring name that referenced an obscure historical figure.

“Barbarossa is Italian for ‘Red Beard,'” according to Military. Com. “Frederick I was a [red-bearded] king of Germany who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1155. A great military leader and charismatic ruler, Frederick died in Asia Minor while leading the Third Crusade.”

Operation Barabossa

Adolf Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa” is considered one of the worst blunders in military history as well as one of the worst names.

 

Some possible names have been run up the flagpole for Trump’s invasion of America: Operation American Freedom, Operation Make America Great Again, Operation Huge Success, Operation White Lives Matter and Operation Totally Constitutional.

However, some marketing gurus believe the President will stick with his proven brand and simply dub the attack Operation Trump, or use the opportunity to salute his daughter Ivanka by calling it Operation Who’s Your Daddy?

Can you come up with the perfect name for the invasion? If so leave it in the comment section below and we will forward the most promising suggestions to the White House.

 

Posted June 4, 2020 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

20 Questions with Director of “The Death Pledge.”   Leave a comment

Death Pledge PosterBy C. Michael Forsyth

     After an earthquake uncovers a forgotten African-American burial ground, a group of pledges to fraternities and sororities at a historically black college must spend the night there as part of the hazing process.  What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, as the unlucky students discover that the vengeful, resurrected corpse of a murdered slave is on the loose—hell-bent on butchering them!

That is the premise of The Death Pledge, a new microbudget feature written, produced and directed by sci-fi writer and filmmaker Jeff Carroll, who also appears in the movie. I asked Florida-based Carroll 20 questions about the creative process and the challenges of making a film on a shoot-string budget. (View the trailer here).

  1. What inspired the story? My initial inspiration came from the discovery of the African burial ground under Wall Street in 1991.  I also took inspiration from the 1981 movie Hell Night starring Linda Blair.
  2. Your serial-killing supernatural monster Baba is a tragic figure, the ghost of a slave-boxer with a sympathetic backstory. What gave you the idea for this character? I was inspired by Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) and his visible presence, but the backstory of Baba was inspired by real boxers like Tom Molineaux. I also combined the boxing history with the process of slave breeding and the use of African males as “bucks.” I gave Baba a mask because I wanted Black youth to have a masked killer they could cosplay. I made the fighting system like WWE pro wrestling.
  3. Baba’s mask is strikingly different from Jason’s. What went into the design and who created it? I gave the colors red, black and green and a few West African mask ideas to my special-effects person Omar Sfreddo. Omar gave me a few options and I choose one that wasn’t exactly like a real African mask.

    Death Pledge Jeff with Baba

    Jeff Carroll directs his supernatural villain Baba.

  4. The character is reminiscent of Candyman, who had also been a cruelly abused slave in life. Was that a source of inspiration? Candyman was an anti-source. I have never liked Candyman as a character. I wanted to create a character who was Black but a masked monster like Jason and Michael Myers (Halloween).
  5. Honoring our ancestors is a major theme in the movie. Why did you weave that into the plot? In my heart, I am an Afrofuturist and when I saw all of these African burial grounds being discovered, the first thing I thought was I hope people respect the people buried there. The original tagline was “If you don’t respect the dead, the dead won’t respect you.” I frequently use fear to plant seeds for cautious behavior.
  6. You have a large cast of young people. Were these college students? How did you recruit them? What were the advantages of having such a large cast at your disposal and what were the challenges? This was my first movie in ten years and I took a lot of time putting together the shooting schedule. The schedule allowed me to manage the cast easier. I shot the movie during the Christmas holiday and most of the cast came from two colleges. The fact that they were college students allowed me as a director to shape them the way I wanted them. I found my cast in a variety of ways. They came from the schools and from casting calls I put out.

    Death Pledge cast

    The ambitious microbudget film boasts a large cast.

  7. Did you go to film school? If not, what training or background prepared you for making this film? I worked in New York in television and film for fifteen years. I took screenwriting classes at Gotham Writers Academy in New York and acting classes with Tracey Moore Marable.
  8. You incorporated illustrations in an ingenious way for a scene in which the students try to spook each other with scary tales. Why did you make this choice and what went into the creation of that artwork? When I wrote the storytelling scene, I used stories that were already comic book illustrations. I was inspired by movies like 300 and Sin City (originally graphic novels).
  9. What was your budget? I shot The Death Pledge with a budget under $50K.
  10. You ran a crowdsourcing campaign. How successful was it, how much did it raise and what advice would you give filmmakers who are thinking about using crowdsourcing to fund their films? I did a GoFundMe and I raised around $1,000. I didn’t do a Kickstarter because they make you set a goal and if you don’t reach it, you don’t get your money.
  11. What were your other sources of financing? I finance my films mostly from savings. The Death Pledge was the first time I took money from investors. I have a cousin who wants to get into film financing, so I took some money from him.
  12. If you had a bigger budget, what would you have done differently? I would have improved Baba’s costume. I would have added more special effects and tricked out the editing. And depending on the money, I would have tried for an A-list actor and some B-list actors.

    Death Pledge students marching

    Pledges are blind to the peril awaiting them in the old graveyard.

  13. What were some of the choices you made due to your budget limitations? The shooting schedule was the first thing that was affected. We shot in four days. It was tight and it rained two of the four days! I would have expanded the shooting schedule more but with fifteen cast members, each day was expensive.
  14. Why did you decide to make a roughly 90-minute feature film instead of a short? I wanted to put the film out into the commercial market and shorts don’t make the money that features make.
  15. How did you approach distributors? I flew out to the American Film Market in LA and had meetings with a few distributors. I also went to Walmart and hit up every distributor with a film on the shelf.
  16. A microbudget means a skeleton crew. How big was yours? I had a crew of about eight or nine people.
  17. You shot some scenes using day for night. What were the challenges of doing that? We found a location that had a thick canopy. The trees blocked out most of the bright Florida sun. That said, I wouldn’t shoot day to night again!

    Death Pledge Jeff costumes

    With a larger budget, Carroll says he would have spent more on costumes

  18. Instead of squibs, you used an after-effect to create the illusion of blood splurting from the victims. Why did you choose that and how was it achieved? I took influence from Nollywood movies [Nigerian] for that special effect.
  19. What is your next film project? I just finished shooting the second and third films in the Death Pledge series, Conjuring Baba and The Black Nun.
  20. What have you learned from making this movie that you brought to the sequels? The Death Pledge was my first time directing a feature. Directing The Death Pledge strengthened my confidence as a director.

Here’s where you can check out all of Jeff Carroll’s films  and his weekly blog.

C. Michael is the author the historical thriller Houdini vs. RasputinBasic RGB

 

Posted March 18, 2020 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

Houdini Battles Rasputin in New Thriller   1 comment

Basic RGBTwo of the most extraordinary men who ever lived clash in the thrilling novel Houdini vs. Rasputin, set in Tsarist Russia. While performing before Tsar Nicholas II, the world’s greatest escape artist Harry Houdini becomes pitted against a formidable foe: Rasputin, the powerful and sinister mystic. Rasputin has made puppets of the Tsar and his wife Alexandra. To save the nation from ruin, a small band of patriots recruits Houdini to expose the imperial “spiritual advisor” as a charlatan. Houdini wages an epic battle of wits and wills with the charismatic fiend.

The American magician’s daring and ingenuity are put to the test in an adventure that takes him from the grand palaces of St. Petersburg to the frigid wastelands of Siberia. Along the way, Houdini makes allies and enemies of a host of real-life figures, including the mischievous imp Princess Anastasia, the colossal former boxer and royal bodyguard Jim Hercules and the Black Sisters, practitioners of the occult who scheme to use Rasputin for their own ends. Meticulous research brings these people and the Russia of the early 1900s to life.

Rasputin female followers

Rasputin with his bevy of fanatical female followersl.

Rasputin is one of history’s most fascinating villains, at once a barely literate Siberian peasant and a Nietzschean superman, a Christ-figure to his followers and the Antichrist to his foes, a faith healer and a debaucher of enormous sexual appetites. He has at his disposal an army of goons, femme fatales, Gypsies, hypnotized assassins and fanatical members of the mysterious Khlysty cult. However, Rasputin’s greatest strength is his own extraordinary personal magnetism. Gathered around him is a circle of female devotees known as the Little Ladies. To help Houdini bring Rasputin down, the magician’s feisty wife Bess infiltrates this coven.

Houdini wheel

A still from the Houdini movie serial Haldane of the Secret Service.

As in Houdini’s movie serials, he escapes from one peril after another: buried alive under six feet of snow; trapped in a burning barn by Rasputin’s henchmen; chained to a rack in the medieval torture chamber of Ivan the Terrible. The pace steadily accelerates until Harry’s final confrontation with his nemesis on a frozen river. Houdini did in fact perform for the Tsar and Rasputin did arrive in the capital that same year. Many real events are incorporated into this work of fiction.  If you enjoy stories packed with mystery and adventure, blending history with fantasy, check out this book!

Posted November 30, 2018 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

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